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Expo: How To Get Started And Succeed At Vegetable Growing 

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By Francis Emukule 

Vegetable cultivation is of popular interest today, and people have developed methods of doing it. While some do it around their homes on a small scale, others practice it extensively for commercial purposes. However, few people have the necessary information and training to operate a vegetable farm. During training at the Harvest Money Expo, Joseph Male, a representative from the agricultural firm, Avail provided information on how farmers can begin growing vegetables and succeed at it. 

He suggested that one defines their goals before starting out, saying that doing so requires careful planning in order to avoid making snap decisions that could lead to long-term losses. 

He also clarified that a farmer must develop a product mix to specify their goals. Male explained that in order to be recognised for growing particular types of vegetables in the market, a farmer must be aware of the vegetables they want to mix. “To make money, know the kind of vegetable you want to mix. This will help you define a market for yourself,” he advises. 

Soil types 

A prospective farmer can learn the type of soil and its pH through ongoing research into the industry (vegetable farming). This maximises productivity. If you ignore it, you will fail. A farmer must be knowledgeable about the production model they plan to employ. These can be brief or lengthy, cyclical, seasonal, focused, natural, synthetic, integrated, or inorganic.

Male emphasised, however, that a farmer should be able to maximise productivity with whatever model they choose. 

“Regardless of the production model you select, productivity must be maximised,” he said 

Additionally, he did advise a farmer to start with an intensive production model. To make the most of the available space, the farmer must be organised. Farmers can also use growing bags. In addition, he also suggested applying protected models (greenhouses), because it takes away the extreme challenge of weather and guarantees an all-year production which cannot be achieved in the open field. According to Male, protected agriculture is the way of the future. 

However, it can only be profitable if it is executed correctly. Knowing what products thrive in greenhouses is the first step; pepper, particularly the most profitable sweet variety, grows incredibly well there. Snack tomatoes and cucumbers, which are good for greenhouse farming, are profitable crops. Vegetables in open fields should not be grown in greenhouses because productivity will not be maximised and the quality of the final product will be poor. 

Farmers were also advised to study the ideal sizes of vegetables that are ideal for the market and which make more sense in terms of production and sales. A farmer should also be able to develop a business plan to balance input and output, keep records for trend analysis, and maintain cash flow, Male said. If you want to make money from your farming, you must treat it like a business, he added. 

Maximise the greenhouse to make money 

Aside from carrying out vegetable farming in a greenhouse, farmers were also advised on seedling-raising using greenhouse technology: “If you use seedlings, it will take three, four, or five weeks; however, you can do it on an orderly basis so that you are in a position to supply a ready market.” 

Crop development 

The farmer must also research about the nutrients or fertilisers they need to add to the soil. When supplying your soil with nutrients and fertiliser, the development cycle is crucial. This goes through three stages: the first three weeks are vegetative, the fourth week is generative or reproductive, and the fifth week is maturity and ripening. 

On the other hand, the irrigation system picked the most effective and reasonably priced strategy for maximising crop water productivity. Male emphasised that increasing the plant’s water requirement is the only way to maximise production. “Ration your water requirement three times, usually after 8:00am,” he said. 

Post-harvest handling 

To minimise losses, hygiene, safety, and quality assurance are crucial. Sort them to maximise returns and high-value market. In addition, packaging is also important. Brian Asiimwe, a first-time tomato grower who attended the training said he came to learn about irrigation and soil the proper type. 

“I recently experienced a setback when I lost all of my tomatoes. Later, I understood that the poor soil type and careless irrigation were to blame. However, armed with this knowledge, I will do better next season,” he said.  

The three-day expo, under the theme Farming as a Business – Post-harvest Handling and Value Addition ended today, Sunday, February 12, 2023. It was sponsored by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Agriculture Ministry, National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), Pepsi, Engineering Solutions Ltd (ENGSOL), RIELA/UPFRONT, Agricultural Credit faculty, Uganda warehouse Receipt Systems Authority, Champrisa International and State House. 

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